4 Feb 2014

Slow down for pharmaceuticals boss

6:59 am on 4 February 2014

Douglas Pharmaceuticals founder Sir Graeme Douglas has decided to retire and hand the top job to second-in-command and son Jeff Douglas.

The privately owned Douglas Pharmaceuticals is New Zealand's largest pharmaceuticals manufacturer and claims 20 percent of the United States market for acne treatment isotretinoin.

Sir Graeme, who turns 85 this month, is only retiring from the company and plans to continue working. He is starting a new specialist nutrition company, Douglas Nutrition, which he will run independently of Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

Jeff Douglas said his father had never previously considered retiring.

"And I don't think he really wants to retire now. I guess he's looking to slow down a little as opposed to retire, per se."

Jeff Douglas had worked for the company for 34 years - most of his working life.

"I sort of fell into it when I was doing accountancy, in the early days, and rather enjoyed it, especially being out in the field calling on pharmacies and doctors ... and just stayed on," he said.

New appointee Chris van Niekerk, who has held senior roles at Valeant Pharmaceuticals and iNova Pharmaceuticals in Australia and South Africa, will take up Jeff Douglas' former role.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals has annual sales of about $150 million.